Pre-pandemic the number of American children with mental health diagnoses was alarming. In fact, the CDC produced a study on children's mental health (ages 3 - 17 years) and produced the following information.
These populations combined account for approximately 20 million children. Again, these numbers are PRE-pandemic.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 15% of the American public school population receives special education services. That equates to roughly 7.2 million children nationwide who require in-school therapies and/or other specialized protocols/services. This means that teachers must be highly creative and dynamic in their strategies and approaches.
Early data is just beginning to emerge regarding the effects of social media on children's mental health as well as social and emotional development. There are studies specific to how smartphone use is impacting everything from student attention spans, cognition, empathy, and even creativity. This is an area of research and scholarship that is just really beginning to produce viable data. In May of 2023, the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued a special advisory about Social Media and teens mental health. You can read that HERE.
A great resource specific to this is the Substack written by Jon Haidt, a social psychologist who teaches at NYU's Stern School of Business. He is producing some breakthrough research in this area.
This all speaks to the extraordinary developmental, social, and emotional diversity of today's students. It also speaks to the fact that teachers, administrators and schools need to be more creative and dynamic. Mind you, we believe that teaching has ALWAYS been a creative a dynamic profession. It now needs to be more so.